RahXephon

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RahXephon
RahXephon dvdcover3 adv.jpg
Cover art from the third volume of ADV's DVD release of RahXephon
ラーゼフォン
(Rāzefon)
Genre Mecha, Drama, Romance
Manga
Written by Takeaki Momose
Published by Shogakukan
English publisher
Demographic Seinen
Magazine Monthly Sunday Gene-X
Original run September 2001November 2002
Volumes 3
Anime television series
Directed by Yutaka Izubuchi
Written by Yutaka Izubuchi
Studio Bones
Licensed by
Aesir Holdings
101 Films
Network Fuji TV, KBS, SUN, TNC, UHB
English network
Original run 21 January 200211 September 2002
Episodes 26 (List of episodes)
Novel series
Written by Hiroshi Ohnogi
Published by Media Factory
English publisher
Demographic Male
Imprint MF Bunko J
Original run July 2002February 2003
Volumes 5
Game
Publisher Bandai
Genre Adventure, Action
Platform PlayStation 2
Released August 7, 2003
Original video animation
Her and Herself (彼女と彼女自身と) / Thatness and Thereness
Directed by Tomoki Kyoda
Studio Bones
Released August 7, 2003
Portal icon Anime and Manga portal

RahXephon (Japanese: ラーゼフォン Hepburn: Rāzefon?) is an anime series about 17-year-old Ayato Kamina, his ability to control a mecha known as the RahXephon, and his inner journey to find a place in the world. His life as a student and artist in Tokyo is suddenly interrupted by a mysterious stalker, strange planes invading the city and strange machines fighting back.

The original 26-episode anime television series was directed by Yutaka Izubuchi. It was created by Izubuchi and Bones studio and it aired on Fuji TV from January to September 2002. It was produced by Fuji TV, Bones, Media Factory and Victor Entertainment. The series received critical acclaim and was subsequently translated, released on the DVD and aired in several other countries, including the United States. A 2003 movie adaptation RahXephon: Pluralitas Concentio was directed by Tomoki Kyoda, with plot changes and new scenes. The series also spun into novels, an extra OVA episode, an audio drama, a video game, illustration books and an altered manga adaptation by Takeaki Momose.

The central elements of RahXephon's plot are music, time, archetypal mystery, intrigue and romance. The series shows influences from philosophy, Japanese folklore and Western literature, such as the work of James Churchward. The cultural background of the series is dominated by Mesoamerican and other Pre-Columbian civilizations. Director Izubuchi said RahXephon was his attempt to set a new standard for mecha anime, as well as to bring back aspects of 1970s mecha shows like Brave Raideen.

Setting[edit]

The backstory of RahXephon is a fight against multi-dimensional invaders known as the Mulians (known as Mu (ムー ?)). The Mu are visually indistinguishable from humans, however they carry a genetic marker called the "Mu phase" which turns their blood blue and causes some memory loss when they mature.

The story reveals that two Mu floating cities appeared above Tokyo and Sendai around the end of 2012. The ensuing conflict escalated into nuclear warfare, and the Mu enveloped Tokyo and outlying suburbs within a spherical barrier resembling Jupiter, referred by outsiders as "Tokyo Jupiter" ("Tōkyō Jupita"). The barrier has a time dilating effect, which causes time inside Tokyo Jupiter to slow down to one-fifth compared to the outside time, and allowed the Mu to secretly take control of Tokyo, using the area as a base of operations. The goal of the human forces outside Tokyo Jupiter is to build up their strength to invade Tokyo Jupiter and stop the Mu while surviving their attacks.

Although RahXephon is part of the mecha genre of anime, its "mechas" are not mechanical. The mechas used by the Mu, called Dolems, are made of clay, like golems. Each is bound to a certain Mulian, however some are also bound to human hosts, called "sub-Mulians".

The dominant theme of RahXephon is the music changing the world. The Dolems are animated by a mystical force connected to music; most of the controlling Mulians appear to be singing. A Dolem attacks while singing, and sometimes the attack is the song itself. The RahXephon can also attack by having its pilot — the "instrumentalist" — sing a note. This unleashes force waves that cause massive destruction. Each Mulian Dolem has an Italian name referring to musical notations, such as, Allegretto, Falsetto, or Vivace. The ultimate goal of the RahXephon is to "tune the world." Izubuchi says the name RahXephon lacked a real meaning, but that he now explains it as composed of Rah as the origin of Ra according to Churchward, X as the unknown variable or X factor, and -ephon as a suffix for instrument from "-phone".[1]

Plot[edit]

The most important plot line of the series is the unusual relationship between Ayato Kamina and Haruka Shitow. Although Haruka appears to be a stranger to Ayato at first, the series reveals that they knew each other from before the beginning of the story.

Ayato is a boy conceived with the help of the Bähbem Foundation living in Tokyo with his adoptive mother, Maya Kamina. Ayato met Haruka on a trip outside of Tokyo, and they continued to see each other when they returned to school in Tokyo. At this time, Haruka's family name was Mishima.

However, during what later became known as the Tokyo Jupiter incident, Haruka Mishima and her pregnant mother were away on a holiday trip while Ayato was caught inside. Years later Haruka's mother re-married and their family name became Shitow. Meanwhile Maya modified Ayato's memories to make him forget Haruka. The series makes clear that the entire population of Tokyo Jupiter is subject to the same kind of mental control. Ayato is haunted by visions of Haruka, which he manifests in his art. Ixtli, RahXephon's soul, also adopts Haruka's appearance and family name (Mishima) to guide Ayato, but takes a different given name — Reika.

The story begins as Tokyo is attacked by invaders while a mysterious woman, later revealed to be Haruka, stalks Ayato. By this point, Haruka has grown considerably older than Ayato and his friends who remained inside because of the time dilation in Tokyo Jupiter. Because of this Ayato does not recognize Haruka and initially mistrusts her, but he gradually re-discovers his love for her as the series progresses and he learns of what has happened. At the end of the series, Ayato's RahXephon merges with Quon's, and he modifies the past by "re-tuning the world" so that he and Haruka are never separated. In the final sequence of the series the adult Ayato is seen with his wife Haruka and their infant daughter Quon.

Characters[edit]

This section represents the story from the television series and may differ from other works.
TERRA operations and research staff

At the beginning of RahXephon, Ayato Kamina is a modest 17-year-old living in Tokyo. He is an average student, who enjoys painting and spending time with his classmates Hiroko Asahina and Mamoru Torigai. He has affectionate relationship with his mother, strained by her long-hour work.

During the sudden attack on Tokyo, Ayato hears the singing of his classmate Reika Mishima. She leads him to a giant egg containing the RahXephon. Haruka Shitow, an agent of the defense research agency TERRA (acronym for Tereno Empireo Rapidmova Reakcii Armeo, broken Esperanto for Earth Empire Rapid Response Army), brings Ayato and the RahXephon to their headquarters.

Ayato moves in with Haruka's uncle Professor Rikudoh and pilots the RahXephon against the attacking Dolems. Quon Kisaragi, a mysterious girl living with chief researcher Itsuki, seems to share some of Ayato's artistic talent. Ernst von Bähbem of the Bähbem Foundation sponsors TERRA through the Federation, the successor of the United Nations.

While most characters are introduced by the end of episode 7, RahXephon continues to characters development and reveals their mysteries and relationships through heavy use of foreshadowing.

Dolems[edit]

Dolems or Dorems (ドーレム Doremu?) are enormous mecha-like beings that are used as powerful weapons by the Mulians. The name "Dolem" is derived from "golem".[2] It is also a reference to the first three notes in the C major scale, "Do-Re-Mi", and the Italian word "dolere", meaning "to ache".

In RahXephon Dolems are designated by TERRA as D1. The smaller fighters Dotem (with T instead of L) are designated as D2.

Dolems are made of clay, like golems, but are animated by a quasi-mystical force connected to music, as most of the controlling Mulians appear to be singing. A Dolem attacks while singing, and sometimes the attack is the song itself. Each D1 Dolem is bound to a Mulian who controls it. Some Dolems are also bound to human hosts called "sub-Mulians" or "Dolem hosts" who anchor to the Dolems in the human dimension, making it possible for the Mulian controller to take over the body of the host. These bonds are so strong that destroying a Dolem can kill both the Mulian controlling it and the human host. When destroyed, a Dolem disintegrates into blue blood and clay.

List of Dolems[edit]

  • Allegretto
  • Fortissimo
  • Grave
  • Ritardando
  • Forzando
  • Sforzando
  • Larghetto
  • Vivace
  • Falsetto
  • Arpeggio
  • Alternate
  • Vibrato
  • Obbligato and Brillante
  • Largo

Lesser Dolems[edit]

  • Metronomes and Metronomilies
  • Dotems
  • Mezzofortes
  • Staccato

Production and media[edit]

RahXephon was initially produced as a TV series. A manga version, novels, soundtracks and an audio drama were published during the original broadcast. A movie, an OVA episode, art books, and guide books were also created. Characters, mecha and story from RahXephon were featured in three video games.

Further information: List of RahXephon media

TV series[edit]

Further information: See List of RahXephon episodes for episode list and List of RahXephon media for music releases.

Yutaka Izubuchi was a successful anime supervisor and designer focusing on costume, character and mechanical design, notably in the Gundam and Patlabor series. His friend and former Sunrise colleague Masahiko Minami, producer and president of Bones, had suggested Izubuchi to direct something.[3]

Sample from Hashimoto's ending theme, featuring synthesiser ambients and vocals.

Sample from near the beginning of "Huge Suites", one of Hashimoto's classically scored compositions.

Hashimoto's jazz compositions range from experimental to the more mainstream, like "Runnin'".

Problems playing these files? See media help.

Izubuchi finally agreed and RahXephon became his first directing job. Izubuchi returned to the classic mecha shows of the 1970s and 1980s and wanted to make a show of that type updated with advances in anime production as well as adding his own personal ideas. He wanted to "set a new standard in the field" of mecha anime[3] to show his "own standard" and capabilities as a creator-showrunner.[4] Media Factory, Fuji TV. and Victor Entertainment joined Bones as production partners. After planning the story and designing characters and locations, a core group was expanded to a full production staff that completed the show, primarily working together — a departure from the trend of outsourcing anime production.[5]

The original music, except for the opening theme, is composed by Ichiko Hashimoto; she was initially approached to compose some of the score and replied that she wanted to compose all of it.[5] She also plays Maya and performs the closing theme together with her sister Mayumi. The opening theme "Hemisphere" is composed by Yoko Kanno and sung by Maaya Sakamoto, who plays Reika.[6] Hashimoto's compositions range from piano sonatas and acoustic chamber music to experimental jazz, hard rock, and ambience that crosses the border into sound design. She also includes more mainstream jazz and orchestral music played with both acoustic and electronic instruments.[6]

Movie[edit]

A television movie version of RahXephon called Pluralitas Concentio was directed by Tomoki Kyoda, who had directed three episodes of the TV series and acted as assistant director with Soichi Masui. Izubuchi acted as Chief Director on this movie, but was not heavily involved in its production. Most of the staff members involved with the TV series worked on the movie, and it was distributed by Shochiku. The producers were Masahiko Minami, Shiro Sasaki, Maki Horiuchi, Kenji Shimizu, and Tatsuji Yamazaki.

In the manga, characters differ from their anime counterparts in both visual design and characterization.

The movie quickly reveals mysteries that were developed slowly in the TV series[7] and makes changes to the plot. It begins with a prologue showing previously unseen events, followed by a couple of expository scenes. The final 30 minutes contain the most plot changes and new scenes, ending with a new epilogue. The rest of the movie consists mainly of abridged scenes from the original series, sometimes with characters replaced or with different motivations and dialogue. The link between the Kamina and Mishima families and other storylines that were prominent in the original TV series were reduced or removed. One prominent distributor promoted the movie as an "encore" — an extra performance at the end of the series, rather than as a replacement.[8]

Manga[edit]

See also: § Book reviews

The manga was illustrated and written by Takeaki Momose.[4] Momose was one of the candidates for character designer on the series,[9] but Izubuchi wanted Akihiro Yamada to do the original designs,[10] and Hiroki Kanno got the job of adapting them for animation. With the manga Momose got the opportunity to re-design the characters into his own style and make changes in characterization and story,[9] as well as adding "fan service".[11]

The scenario of the manga adaptation is similar to RahXephon series with some minor and major differences. In the anime series, Reika is a mysterious and distant figure; in the manga Reika is a more comical figure who grew up as Ayato's adoptive sister with a darker origin. The anime series shows Megumi competing with Haruka for Ayato's affections, while this role is taken by Reika in the manga. The rate of time dilation is also different in the manga version, as the year outside Tokyo is 2033 instead of 2027.

Influences[edit]

In addition to its musical theme, RahXephon has many explicit references to ancient history and myths, literature, art, and culture.

Art and literature[edit]

Gliding Dance of the Maidens is a recurring melody in RahXephon. About this sound This sound sample  represents the first four bars, while the image shows four following bars.
Music

In addition to the prevalence of terms from music, classical musical works are used in the show: The overture to Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg opens the first episode, hinting to the musical contests between "normal" Humans and the Mu where the RahXephon is one of the instruments. The motif Quon sings or hums repeatedly is from Polovetsian Dances in the opera Prince Igor, about a warrior prince. Additionally, the opera itself is played on more than one occasion, usually over a loudspeaker system. The melody is also used in the musical Kismet, about love between two people of different worlds, here with new lyrics and titled Stranger in Paradise.

Post-classical literature

Izubuchi found the basis for the relationship between Ayato and Haruka in Robert F. Young's short story The Dandelion Girl.[4] In Young's story the protagonist encounters a girl standing on a hill in a dress, the breeze blowing in her hair; this girl comes from the future, while the girl in RahXephon comes from the past. The Dandelion Girl is also the title of the "Coda" appearing after the credits of episode 26. Izubuchi later realized that another story, Portrait of Jennie, had been an additional influence for the relationship.[4] The idea of Tokyo Jupiter is explicitly compared to Sayonara Jupiter and Tokyo Blackout by the veteran science fiction writer Sakyo Komatsu.[12]

The summary movie shows Haruka and Ayato sharing the book Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll; the series itself does not mention this book, but they have commonalities: Both use mirrors and reflections, and both feature the stopping and reversal of time. In the manga version of RahXephon, the choice of literature is different — The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. This book appears only briefly in the anime series,[13] but characters in the manga note how their situation is similar to Oz; the last manga chapter is named "Over the Rainbow". In a reversal of Dorothy's experience Ayato is whisked away from the constructed world of Tokyo Jupiter into the "real" world.

The series also references the works of writers who have won the Nobel Prize in Literature: "Macondo Four" a code-name used at the beginning of the show, comes from Gabriel García Márquez's fictional hometown Macondo, prominent in One Hundred Years of Solitude. Another, "Yoknapatawpha", comes from William Faulkner's fictional home Yoknapatawpha County. The teams using the code-names attempt to maintain a similarly unreal home town for Ayato.[14]

Colours

The RahXephon system consists of a white RahXephon and a black RahXephon, with eggs, wings and feathers coloured accordingly. The Mu are shown to have blue blood while normal humans have red blood; in the RahXephon universe, the nobility has blue blood as a holdover from the period of Mu dominance.

RahXephon uses blue flowers as symbols of the Mu.[15][16] This concept was used by the philosopher Novalis, who wrote about Heinrich — a young man yearning for a "blue flower" that he once saw in a dream. Novalis wrote that "the world becomes a dream, and the dream becomes reality". RahXephon has several references to dreaming, and features dreamlike sequences that foreshadow real events.

Michiru, the blue bird which the character Kunugi keeps, is named after his daughter.[16] As well as being a Japanese given name, "Michiru" is the Japanese name for "Mytyl", a character in Maeterlinck's The Blue Bird. In the last two episodes this bird parallels Haruka, blue birds symbolize the Mu, and The Blue Bird is used to describe Itsuki's relationship with Nanamori. The manga also uses this theme.

The character Reika stands in front of a poster similar to La Grande Famille.
A "dreamscape" from the opening sequence
Visual arts

A recurring significant image in the anime is a modified version of noted Surrealist artist René Magritte's La Grande Famille, showing a sky through the silhouette of a dove.

The anime makes other references to the French Surrealism movement, from the dreamlike sequences associated with some Dolems, to all the references to retuning and reworking the world and the desires of man. Surrealists said that artists should express the subconscious uninhibited by conscious thought and reason, and that the dream world of the subconscious was more real than the real world — surreal.[17] Ayato re-tunes the world based on his desires. Likewise, the Surrealists wanted to re-shape the world to fit the subconscious, for example through political revolution.[18]

The opening sequence features dream art with surrealist qualities. One image in particular shows a dreamscape with clocks, some broken and others moving at different speeds, recalling the "soft watches" paintings[19] by Salvador Dalí.

Civilization and culture[edit]

The Americas

RahXephon has many references to Pre-Columbian American culture. December 21, 2012 is the end of the 5-vigesimal Mayan Long Count calendar and the transition from one Mayan age into the next. In RahXephon the Mu re-appear one week after this date. Characters listen to a song called "Fate of Katun"; a Katun is a measurement of time in the Mayan Calendar. The Dolem control system is worn as a helmet shaped like a face from a Mayan sculpture,[20] and the cities of the Mu contain artwork inspired by Mayan and other Mesoamerican art.[21]

A bas-relief in the Palenque museum. Similar bas-reliefs of the RahXephon system are shown in the series and in the movie.

The leader of the Mu in Tokyo is named Maya. This is not coincidental, since the series draws many of its references from James Churchward's books about the Mu — an advanced ancient race from a large island in the South Pacific which had sunk, like the legendary continent of Atlantis. Churchward claimed that the Maya, and other ancient civilizations, were remnants of Mu colonies. RahXephon's main character Ayato is shown to know about Churchward's theories.[15]

The language of the Mu is based on Nahuatl, a classical form of Aztec language. The terms in ixtli in yollotl (face and heart) and ollin (movement) come from this language, and the latter refers to the sun god Ollin Tonatiuh. According to the Aztec sun stone, humanity is living in the fifth and final age of the world. Tonatiuh is the god of this fifth age; in RahXephon, the characters Ayato and Quon are both called Ollin by the Mu. At the end of the series, both characters reach a state called Yolteotl — a state similar to the Buddhist nirvana.[22]

The series shows a Dolem carving shapes into the earth; these shapes are referred to as "Nazca Lines"[23] after lines made by a pre-Incan culture. Step pyramids both in the style of Tikal[24] and other locations[15] are shown, and the TERRA headquarters' shape is a pyramid-cone amalgam with the angle and tip of Mount Fuji.[21][25]

The final episode contains a quotation from Octavio Paz's prose poem "The Obsidian Butterfly" from the collection Aguila O Sol/Eagle or Sun? that plays upon Aztec mythology and the coming of a new era. "The Obsidian Butterfly" is a reference to the Aztec goddess Itzpapalotl; the character of Quon becomes a representation of this goddess, particularly Paz's usage of the goddess in his poem.

Creation myths

The tuning of the world resembles the idea of creation by song, appearing in creation myths like that of the Hopi.[26] It also appears in fictional mythologies like J. R. R. Tolkien's Music of the Ainur and the creation story of C. S. Lewis's Narnia. Another symbolic element is that of the golems, creatures made from clay, recalling Biblical imagery from Genesis as well as more recent stories in Jewish kabbalism and folklore.

Japanese culture and religion

Two Japanese folk tales are explicitly mentioned in the series: Ayato compares himself to Urashima Tarō,[12] and professor Rikudoh compares Maya to Princess Kaguya.[27] "Spiriting away" (kamikakushi) happens both in reverse and in the way common to Japanese folklore.[28]

TERRA is based on Nirai Island, a fictional addition to the Satsunan Islands, one of the island groups making up Japan's Ryukyu Islands. The base itself is located in Kanai city, built on reclaimed land adjacent to the natural island. Nirai and Kanai have been named as a pun on Nirai-kanai.[15] In traditional Ryukyu beliefs "Nirai kanai", also called "Nira-hara" or "Niraasuku", is the place out at sea where the gods live. These gods are believed to visit the islands of humans during certain religious festivals.[29] In RahXephon, Mu is suggested to be the real-world basis of the Nirai-kanai legend. The "Shrine of Time" resembles Ryukyan family tomb.[28] RahXephon's Nirai, Kanai, and the bay between them are roughly shaped like commas, a shape shared with magatama[25] and common Taijitu symbols. Mount Fuji appears in the show, both directly depicted[30] and as a design inspiration;[25] this mountain has a special spiritual significance in Shinto.

The religious foundations of the TV series are Ryukyan and Mesoamerican. Beyond Ryukyuan beliefs and Confucianism the TV series has few prominent references to traditional Eastern religion. Yakumo is shown in a kimono performing a Shinto New Year ritual,[28] but no other religious worship is shown. The characters celebrate a secular Christmas, and distinguish between practice and belief.[31] Kunugi visits a Christian cemetery,[32] and important scenes in the last two episodes are set in and around a church. The show thus reflects the variations of Japanese religious practice.

Although Eastern religion has a minor role in the TV series, the movie version references Buddhism. The epilogue shows a butsudan, where a plaque bearing Ayato's posthumous name is standing. Near the end of the movie Ayato explains the situation of the "re-tuning" to Haruka. He explains how he cannot remain with her in the world as they know it and that he has somehow has transcended his human state, that is, reached Enlightenment. In the manga version of the story, Reika is a Mu miko who was unprepared for a ritual involving the RahXephon, and who is trapped in a cycle of reincarnation. This form of reincarnation is very different from rebirth in Buddhism.

Reception[edit]

The anime series originally aired on stations in the Fuji Television network and its affiliates, except in the Kansai region where independent UHF stations aired it instead.[33] Starting with episode 10, some stations moved the series from the afternoon to after midnight, but other stations moved it from late night to afternoon.[34][35][36] RahXephon thus remained both a "late night anime" and afternoon anime throughout its original run.

According to its distributor the series "captivated millions in Japan" and "[drew] in viewers by the tens of thousands."[37] The series won the award for best anime TV series at the 7th Animation Kobe fair.[38] It was considered popular enough that a TV movie version was commissioned and aired.

Internationally, the series was translated and released on DVD. It was purchased for airing by television stations and made available on video on demand services in several countries. In the United States, the DVDs were released around the theatrical release of another Bones production, Cowboy Bebop: The Movie. The distributor claimed that RahXephon was met with "strong sales and extraordinary critical response in the U.S."[39]

Further information: See List of RahXephon media#Anime distribution for more information on international distribution.

TV series reviews[edit]

The series was generally well received by English-language reviewers. While some reviewers only judged the show on its own merits, others compared it with varying favor against shows such as Brain Powerd, Megazone 23, and Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Protoculture Addicts editor Claude J. Pelletier chose RahXephon as one of the top 3 anime TV series of 2002,[40] and Miyako Matsuda agreed, noting mystery, technology, and romance.[41] Christian Nutt of Anime Jump offered a contrary opinion: "RahXephon's characters fell flat and the grind of its scenario didn't inspire much curiosity, despite some initially awesome ideas".[42] En Hong, on the other hand, found the characters to be skilfully developed and believable as "self-conscious entities and not just parts to be filled for the story to progress",[43] and Charles Solomon called them "engaging".[44]

Mike Toole of Anime Jump was impressed by the music, animation and character design;[45] as was Protoculture's Martin Ouellette.[46] Solomon noted the "strikingly original mecha designs"[44] and Anime Boredom's John Huxley noted the "unusual yet elegant" mecha and the "fluid computer-enhanced" — but not CGI-looking — animation.[47]

RahXephon's "brief but not unwelcome" comic moments went over well with Huxley,[48] and he found the romance "a million miles away from the cheery antics of Love Hina or Ranma ½" and "for the most part thoroughly believable".[47]

Chris Beveridge of Anime on DVD found the final episodes beautiful both in visual style and story, "with the raw emotions coming out of it, in both languages".[49] Huxley also liked the conclusion: "Despite falling short of the mark in a few areas this is a satisfying conclusion to a good series."[47] On the plot resolution he wrote that RahXephon "keeps the audience guessing right up until the final credits and beyond" but that "the clues are all there" for the viewer to piece together.[47] Anime News Network columnist Zac Bertschy called RahXephon a "paragon of responsible storytelling (...) No loose strings are left; we see the conclusion of every character’s storyline." He added that the English voice work "raised the bar across the board."[50]

Movie reviews[edit]

The TV movie had a more mixed reception than the TV series. Christian Nutt was not excited about the TV series but found the movie to be better: Despite "too much cutting and chopping", he wrote that "the creators have done the best they can with the material." He added: "the last scene is very touching. It's a big improvement over the TV show."[42] Efrain Diaz Jr. of IGN called the movie a "valiant effort", but preferred the TV series and asked "why even bother with the movie?"[51]

Carlo Santos, writing for Anime News Network, recommended the movie both as an "endcap to a remarkable series" and as a sample for those yet to watch it.[52] While Chris Beveridge also recommended the movie as an addition to the series, he did not recommend it as a sample for newcomers, "since some of the best revelations are given away so quickly..."[7]

Indeed, reviewers who were not familiar with the series complained about the movie's lack of coherence. Mitchell Hattaway of DVD Verdict "got lost about ten minutes in", considered the movie a waste of money for anybody but RahXephon completists and wrote that "Bones Animation Studio is guilty of contempt for its audience."[53] Janet Crocker of Animefringe was confused by the plot as well, but was less confused on the second viewing and looked forward to watching the TV series. She called the movie "intellectually refreshing and visually beautiful" and recommended it "even to non-mecha people like me".[54]

Book reviews[edit]

Eduardo M. Chavez of Anime on DVD was not impressed by the first volume of the manga, especially when compared to the TV series; he rated it "C minus", though he said it could have worked as a "parody dōjinshi".[11] After the disappointment of volume one, Chavez was pleasantly surprised by the story in the following volumes,[55] and called it a "story that grew up with its characters", giving it a "B plus".[56]

The five-volume novelization was translated to English, but the other novels were not. This translation was marred by a lack of copy editing in the first volume, which was rated "D" by Santos.[57] The situation was somewhat improved in the second volume, but reviewers did not recommend the novelization as an alternative to the animated versions — only as a source for learning more about the characters and their internal motivations.[58]

Comparisons with other anime[edit]

Some reviewers and the director have compared RahXephon with other anime shows. Some of these shows also have staff common with RahXephon.

Raideen the Brave[edit]

The director of RahXephon has said this series is meant to be a sort of modern-day Raideen.[4][10] As such there are similarities between Raideen and RahXephon, particularly in the titular "robots".

  • The monsters in both shows are made from earth and rock which is brought to life.
  • Akira Hibiki and Ayato Kamina both have mothers who are from a race called the "Mu". This in turn means that both Akira and Ayato have Mu blood.
  • Akira and Ayato both "meld" into a surface in order to enter the cockpit of their respective robot. Akira enters via Reideen's forehead; Ayato can enter the RahXephon both directly and through a portal that is separate from the body of the RahXephon.
  • The Raideen and the RahXephon both are portrayed as intelligent, sentient beings and possess similar general aesthetics, particularly the human-like face that is covered on the sides. Both can attack with their voices, and can form a bow with arrows as well as a sword that protrudes out of their right arms.

Both have appeared in the Super Robot Wars series, taking particular significance in Super Robot Wars MX where many characters note that Raideen and RahXephon are similar existences, and Brave Raideen has since been remade into Reideen. The two also appear together in Super Robot Wars: Scramble Commander the 2nd.

Neon Genesis Evangelion[edit]

While some English-language reviewers did not mention the popular mecha anime Neon Genesis Evangelion in their reviews of RahXephon,[7][44][45][52][53][59] others compared the two explicitly. Some reviewers noted similarities between the series' protagonists and their style and execution of events.[43][60] John Huxley noted an episode with "soul searching" sequences reminiscent of Neon Genesis Evangelion with a "hint of Twin Peaks".[61]

After reviewing the first five episodes, Mike Pinsky of DVD Verdict wrote that much of RahXephon was "ripped off completely" from Neon Genesis Evangelion and although finding it to be a good show, he ruled that "This Evangelion Lite tastes good enough, but is much less filling."[60] Christian Nutt of Anime Jump had seen the entire show when he wrote that "One of my least favorite aspects of RahXephon is its aping of Evangelion".[42] In Protoculture Addicts Miyako Matsuda agreed that the shows were similar, but compared the two in RahXephon's favor: "it is very similar to Evangelion, but in many ways more original and exotic."[41] In the same magazine, Martin Ouellette went as far as calling RahXephon an Neon Genesis Evangelion "imitation", but was so impressed that he exclaimed "the imitation has surpassed the original!"[46]

Some reviewers favoured RahXephon because of its more active protagonist[43] and clearer ending: "Like Evangelion, you have to bend and warp your brain around this thing, but unlike Evangelion, if you think about it, it all makes sense" wrote Zac Bertschy.[50] Huxley praised RahXephon for including action sequences in the ending, providing "a more balanced experience".[47] RahXephon's story and complex relationships were planned and written early in the production cycle. In contrast, Neon Genesis Evangelion '​s director stated that he did not know how the show would end,[62] and production was influenced by the reactions that TV executives and viewers had to previous episodes.[63] Although John Oppliger suggested stronger candidates for similarities than Neon Genesis Evangelion, he thought RahXephon's similarity to Neon Genesis Evangelion was intentional:[64]

John Huxley found "several similarities" with Neon Genesis Evangelion, but wrote that there were "many, more significant differences",[65] and concluded that RahXephon "deserves to be recognised outside of its comparisons to a certain Hideaki Anno animation."[47]

Some dialogue in the RahXephon anime series is reminiscent of Neon Genesis Evangelion; for instance, protagonist Ayato's very first line in the show is "Everything is all right with the world", which closely resembles the line "All's right with the world" from Robert Browning's Song from Pippa Passes, which serves as the motto of Eva's secret organization Nerv.

Production connections[edit]

Anno and Izubuchi, the chief directors of each show, both designed mecha appearing in Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack (1988) and they worked together on the Cutie Honey (2004) live action movie. Izubuchi had also made some design drafts of the Evangelion units, but did not make the final designs. They gave an interview for one of the RahXephon guide books, and have a relationship that can be described as being old drinking buddies.[2] Mitsuo Iso, a writer and key animator on Neon Genesis Evangelion, wrote and directed the RahXephon episode "The Children's Night"; Yoji Enokido wrote the screenplay for RahXephon's "Interested Parties" and Neon Genesis Evangelion '​s "The Day Tokyo-3 Stood Still". Takeshi Honda was also an animator on both shows. Gainax was one of many companies contracted for in-between animation work on episodes 6 and 26.[66] Although no Japanese voice actors Neon Genesis Evangelion voiced characters in the Japanese version of RahXephon, both shows were re-dubbed into English by ADV Films, and both Allison Keith and Tiffany Grant voiced regular characters in both series.

Other anime[edit]

  • AnimeNation's John Oppliger noted influences from Escaflowne, Evangelion, Revolutionary Girl Utena and "especially Megazone 23"[67][68]
  • Charles Solomon compared the premise of RahXephon with that of Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure, but found RahXephon to be "better plotted and executed".[44]
  • Huxley found the Dolems to be "the star of the show with their bizarre, slightly disturbing designs" reminiscent of Grey.[65]
  • Anime Jump reviewer Mike Toole compared RahXephon with Brain Powerd on account of the "excellent music", design and a "frustratingly large cast and Byzantine plot", but found RahXephon "more focused".[45] He thus disagreed with his colleague, Christian Nutt, who wrote that "[Brain Powerd] may not be as sexy, but it features a more heartfelt and original story".[42]

Legacy[edit]

After RahXephon, Izubuchi went back to design work. His assistant director, Tomoki Kyoda, became chief director on Eureka Seven. Mitsuo Iso went on from his experience on RahXephon to become the chief director of Dennō Coil. RahXephon has been referenced by at least one other anime series, which was also produced by Bones.[69]

When asked whether robot anime following RahXephon had "lived up to the new era" Izubuchi answered "Partially yes and partially no" and regretted the focus being on financially safer remakes instead of on new creations.[10]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Momose Takeaki; Izubuchi Yutaka (September 29, 2004). RahXephon Vol. 3. San Francisco, CA: VIZ Media. p. 1. ISBN 1-59116-428-1. 
  2. ^ a b staff (2004). RahXephon Complete (in Japanese). Media Factory. pp. 81–86. ISBN 4-8401-1019-0. 
  3. ^ a b "RahXephon cover feature". Newtype USA 2 (2): 6–13. February 2003. ISSN 1541-4817. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Wong, Amos (February 2003). "Interview with Yutaka Izubuchi". Newtype USA 2 (2): 14–15. ISSN 1541-4817. 
  5. ^ a b Making of RahXephon special feature. DVD Orchestration 7
  6. ^ a b Izubuchi Yutaka (2003). RahXephon Bible. Houston, Texas: ADV Manga. pp. 78–80. ISBN 1-4139-0026-7. 
  7. ^ a b c Beveridge, Chris (2004-07-27). "RahXephon: The Movie (also w/box) (of 1)". Anime on DVD. Retrieved 2006-10-13. 
  8. ^ A.D. Vision (2003) RahXephon:Pluralitas Concentio DVD cover: "Encore. Return to the world of RahXephon..."
  9. ^ a b Momose Takeaki; Izubuchi Yutaka (2004). Kit Fox, ed. RahXephon Vol. 1. trans. Joe Yamazaki. San Francisco, CA: VIZ Media. ISBN 1-59116-407-9. 
  10. ^ a b c Broestl, Sean (2006). "Anime Expo 2006 - Yutaka Izubuchi Focus Panel". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2006-07-11. 
  11. ^ a b Chavez, Eduardo M. (2004-05-22). "RahXephon Vol. #01 of 3". Anime on DVD. Retrieved 2006-10-13. 
  12. ^ a b "City of Two". RahXephon. Episode 3. Ayato mentions Urashima Tarō. Movie posters for Sayonara Jupiter and Tokyo Blackout (lit. The Capital Vanishes) are shown together.
  13. ^ "The Black Egg". RahXephon. Episode 12. Helena sees, or imagines, a younger version of herself reading the book.
  14. ^ "God and Man Awaken". RahXephon. Episode 2.
  15. ^ a b c d "Nirai-Kanai". RahXephon. Episode 5. Ayato is taken on a boat ride by Itsuki, where Itsuki explains the history of the island. Multiple pyramids are shown. He tells Quon of the myth that sakura blossoms are coloured by the blood of people buried nearby, and says that Kunugi's sakura have blue flowers.
  16. ^ a b "Sonata of Recollection". RahXephon. Episode 10.
  17. ^ Breton, André (1924), Surrealist Manifesto (See Surrealism)
  18. ^ Breton, André and Trotsky, Leon (1938) Towards a Free Revolutionary Art
  19. ^ The Persistence of Memory (1931), Soft Watches[dead link] (1933), The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory (ca. 1952-1954), Soft Watch at the Moment of First Explosion[dead link] (1954)
  20. ^ Photographs from a museum in Mérida, Yucatán: "Mexico - Merida". Retrieved 2004-06-14. 
  21. ^ a b Yamada Akihiro (2003). RahXephon Art Works. SoftBank Creative. pp. 124–125. ISBN 4-7973-2316-7. 
  22. ^ Maffie, James. "Aztec Philosophy". Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved 2006-12-26. 
  23. ^ "Obliterated Cities". RahXephon. Episode 6.
  24. ^ "The Black Egg". RahXephon. Episode 12.Tikal style pyramids are shown in a state of excavation in a crater.
  25. ^ a b c Bones staff (2004). RahXephon Complete (in Japanese). Media Factory. pp. 108–113. ISBN 4-8401-1019-0.  and "Interview with Kazutaka Miyatake" in RahXephon Orchestration 5: Synaesthesia DVD liner notes. ADV films. 2003. 
  26. ^ LaMay, Julie. "Creation Story of the Hopi". Archived from the original on July 14, 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-08. 
  27. ^ RahXephon Episode 16. In addition, the original English episode title is "The Moon Princess".
  28. ^ a b c "Small Shrine of Time". RahXephon. Episode 9.
  29. ^ "The Origin of All — Nirai Kanai". Wonder Okinawa. Okinawa Prefectural Government. Retrieved 2006-06-13. [dead link]
  30. ^ "Return to the Labyrinth". RahXephon. Episode 17. A battle takes place in the area around Mount Fuji
  31. ^ "Bitterly Cold Holy Night". RahXephon. Episode 8. The character Makoto Isshiki points out that Christians appropriated the winter solstice for Christmas. He says, however, that he is not a "non-believer" and makes the distinction between religion and religious practice.
  32. ^ "Sonata of Recollection". RahXephon. Episode 10. Kunugi's daughter is buried with a large crucifix watching over her.
  33. ^ "Animation Data ラーゼフォン". Victor Animation Network (in Japanese). Victor Entertainment. Retrieved 2007-10-12. 
  34. ^ 2月4日(月)の番組表 [東京/16時]. Yahoo!テレビ (in Japanese). Internet TV Guide, Yahoo Japan Corporation. Archived from the original on 2002-02-03. 
  35. ^ "RahXephon" (in Japanese). Fuji TV. 2001–2003. [dead link] Retrieved 4 June 2002 and 20 July 2006
  36. ^ Tōkai Television Broadcasting stations: Late night: 2002年 2月15日(金. 番組表 (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2002-02-20.  Afternoon: 2002年 8月 8日(木). 番組表 (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2002-08-06. 
  37. ^ "Anticipation continues to build for release of RahXephon 1: Threshold". ADV Films. 2003-03-20. Archived from the original on March 25, 2006. Retrieved 2006-08-07. 
  38. ^ "7th Animation Kobe". Animation Kobe Committee, Kobe City and Xebec Corporation. November 2002. Archived from the original on October 9, 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-17. 
  39. ^ "ADV announces release date for RahXephon-Orchestration 7: Crescendo". ADV Films. 2003-10-13. Archived from the original on March 25, 2006. Retrieved 2006-08-07. 
  40. ^ "The Year 2002 in Review". Protoculture Addicts (76): 50–51. May 2003. ISSN 0835-9563. 
  41. ^ a b Matsuda, Miyako; Pelletier, Claude J. (May 2003). "RahXephon: Overview". Protoculture Addicts (76): 17. ISSN 0835-9563. 
  42. ^ a b c d Nutt, Christian (2005-04-26). "Reviews: Rahxephon: The Motion Picture". Anime Jump. Archived from the original on May 10, 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-13. 
  43. ^ a b c Hong, En (September 2002). "Feature: Animefringe Coverage: RahXephon". Animefringe. ISSN 1705-3692. Retrieved 2006-10-13. 
  44. ^ a b c d Solomon, Charles. "RahXephon - Threshold (Vol. 1): Editorial Reviews". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2006-10-12.  Note: Izubuchi did not actually direct or write Gasaraki but did provide designs for it.
  45. ^ a b c Toole, Mike (2003-10-18). "Reviews: Rahxephon vol. 1". Anime Jump. Archived from the original on April 21, 2005. Retrieved 2006-10-13. 
  46. ^ a b Ouellette, Martin (May 2003). "Reviews: RahXephon, Vol. 1". Protoculture Addicts (76): 53. ISSN 0835-9563. 
  47. ^ a b c d e f Huxley, John (2004-10-11). "RahXephon Anime Reviews : RahXephon Orchestration 7: Crescendo". Anime Boredom. Retrieved 2006-10-13. [dead link]
  48. ^ Huxley, John (2004-05-21). "RahXephon Anime Reviews : RahXephon Orchestration 1: Threshold". Anime Boredom. Retrieved 2006-10-13. [dead link]
  49. ^ Beveridge, Chris (2004-01-16). "RahXephon Vol. #7 (of 7)". Anime on DVD. Retrieved 2006-10-13. 
  50. ^ a b Bertschy, Zac (2004-01-12). "Review: RahXephon DVD 7: Crescendo". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2006-10-13. 
  51. ^ Diaz, Efrain Jr. (2004-11-02). "RahXephon: The Motion Picture. 26 episodes become a two-hour movie". IGN. Retrieved 2006-10-16. 
  52. ^ a b Santos, Carlo (2005-03-08). "Review: Rahxephon: Pluralitas Concentio DVD". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2006-10-13. 
  53. ^ a b Hattaway, Mitchell (2004-09-02). "Reviews:RahXephon: The Motion Picture". DVD Verdict. Retrieved 2006-10-12. 
  54. ^ Crocker, Janet (September 2004). "RahXephon: The Motion Picture". Animefringe. ISSN 1705-3692. Retrieved 2006-10-13. 
  55. ^ Chavez, Eduardo M. (2004-07-28). "RahXephon Vol. #02 of 3". Anime on DVD. Retrieved 2006-10-13. 
  56. ^ Chavez, Eduardo M. (2005-05-02). "RahXephon Vol. #03 of 3". Anime on DVD. Retrieved 2006-10-13. 
  57. ^ Santos, Carlo (2006-01-04). "RahXephon Novel 1". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2007-01-09. 
  58. ^ Eries, Sakura (2006-04-15). "RahXephon (novel) Vol. #02 of 5". Anime on DVD. Retrieved 2007-01-09. 
  59. ^ Houston, Don (2004-01-21). "DVD Video Reviews - RahXephon - Crescendo (Vol. 7)". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2006-10-13. 
  60. ^ a b Pinsky, Mike (2003-05-23). "DVD Verdict Review - RahXephon (Volume 1)". DVD Verdict. Retrieved 2006-10-13. 
  61. ^ Huxley, John (2004-05-21). "RahXephon Anime Reviews : RahXephon Orchestration 3: Harmonic Convergence". Anime Boredom. Retrieved 2006-10-13. [dead link]
  62. ^ Anno, Hideaki (December 1998) [1995]. "What were we trying to make here?". Neon Genesis Evangelion, Vol. 1. translated by Mari Morimoto, English adaptation by Fred Burke. San Francisco: VIZ Media LLC. pp. 170–171. ISBN 1-56931-294-X. 
  63. ^ Neon Genesis Evangelion '​s assistant director Kazuya Tsurumaki said it was "like a live performance." Source: Gainax PROFILE Kazuya Tsurumaki, Red Cross Book (1997), Translated by Bochan_bird
  64. ^ Oppliger, John (2002-08-20). "Is RahXephon an Evangelion Rip Off?". Ask John. Retrieved 2006-10-13. 
  65. ^ a b Huxley, John (2004-05-21). "RahXephon Anime Reviews : RahXephon Orchestration 2: Tonal Pattern". Anime Boredom. Retrieved 2006-10-13. [dead link]
  66. ^ Japanese end credits. In-between credits were removed from the ending in certain international releases to make room for voice and translation credits. Japanese credits available online:Bones. "Credits episode 1-13". Retrieved 2007-09-05.  Bones. "Credits episode 14-26". Retrieved 2007-09-05. 
  67. ^ Oppliger, John (2002-05-02). "What is RahXephon?". Ask John. Retrieved 2006-10-13. 
  68. ^ Oppliger, John (2002-10-23). "Can You Explain the Ending of RahXephon?". Ask John. Retrieved 2006-10-13. 
  69. ^ "Jungle Pool SOS". Ouran High School Host Club. Episode 7. The character of Renge cosplays as Quon. When asked who she is dressed as, she utters "La-la", Quon's standard expression; LaLa is also the name of the magazine where Ouran first appeared.

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